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The Midwest Academy has trained over 25,000 grassroots activists. Heather Booth founded the Academy in 1973 to train leaders fighting for social, economic and racial justice. It has played a key role ever since, in building infrastructure for the progressive movement.

The Academy emphasizes a strategic approach to organizing. Who can grant your demands? How can pressure be brought on them?  Which partners can help? Which tactics should be used?There's a lot more to organizing than just protesting. A good strategy maximizes your chances of bringing about change.

It's like soccer. You need a game plan that takes into account both your and the opposing team's strengths and weaknesses. An experienced coach guides teams to design and execute winning game plans.

The Midwest Academy is such an experienced coach. It offers regular training workshops around the country for progressives. But how can training be scaled up to meet the demand for skilled organizers? In-person trainings are best but often too expensive or difficult for activists to attend. Online video training can be delivered on demand, but is hard to adapt for students at different skill levels.

Midwest Academy: Training Center For Progressive Social Change Organizers
A pilot project between the Midwest Academy and DemLabs uses a new approach using the academy's 'Strategy Chart'. This core element of the Academy's training that teaches organizers to plan their campaigns strategically. The online training was designed with existing content and is delivered through Prezi's free online platform. It allows students to proceed at their own pace and jump to any part of the training.

A preview GIF of the training course.

Take the actual online course at:

Who is Heather Booth?

Heather is one of the leading strategists about progressive issue and electoral campaigns. She has been an organizer starting in the civil rights, anti-Vietnam War and women’s movements of the 1960s and continuing through today. She created JANE, an underground abortion service started before Roe. She was the founding Director of the Midwest Academy, training social change leaders and organizers. She has been involved in political campaigns and was the Training Director of the Democratic National Committee.

Heather Booth 1
Heather Booth in "Changing The World" by Lilly Rivlin, award winning film director.

Recent alumni of Midwest Academy with Judy Hertz, Executive Director.

This online training demo is based on the Midwest Academy Strategy Chart. Learn more about the Academy and its courses here. Support the Midwest Academy  by donating here.

This demo includes YouTube previews from the Resistance School. Learn about their video training programs here.

Share this article and let us know of other resources and innovative apps. We'll spread the word.

Co-Founder, DemLabs

Democracy Labs is based in San Francisco. It is a hub for ongoing technology and creative innovation to support progressives. Donate here to support our work.

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